Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday rose before a few hundred soldiers at Camp Liberty in Baghdad and said “First of all, let me say you will be paid,” adding “a smart thing for government is always to pay the guys with the guns first.”
All kidding aside, Gates told the soldiers he knows waiting to be paid until Congress passes a budget could present a tough situation for them. “Frankly, I remember when I was your age, I did a lot of living from paycheck to paycheck,” he said, “and so I hope this thing doesn’t happen, because I know it’ll be an inconvenience for a lot of troops.”
“Military personnel are not subject to furlough and will report for duty as normal during the shutdown,” says the memo, and “Civilian personnel deemed to be performing excepted activities will continue to work during the period of a shutdown.”
Excepted of not, “If there is a government shutdown beginning on Saturday, April 9, all DoD personnel should still report to work on their next scheduled duty day, beginning at their normal duty hours to receive additional instructions.”
The concern is when excepted employees and troops would be paid. They “will be paid retroactively once the department receives additional funding,” according to the guidance, but that funding is in the hands of Congress.
As for non-excepted employees, “Congress would have to provide authority in order for the department to retroactively pay non-excepted employees for the furloughed period.”
Contractors can generally keep working on excepted projects if funds are obligated. They are advised to check with their contracting officer.
Financial aid is available
The following is a partial list from Military.com of specific service organizations targeted to help members of the U.S. military and their families in times of need:
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.